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Breaking the Law - Stealing 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

I just read* the classic book, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I read it on my Kindle, but technically I had to break the law in order to do so. The author, Harper Lee, has refused to allow the book to be published in electronic format.

Now, I know I have a paperback version of the book stashed away somewhere in my house, but I was having a hard time finding it, and to be honest, I often times prefer reading on the Kindle, anyway. There are some aspects of old dead tree books that I like - the smell of the ink and the paper, the sound the pages make as you turn them, the way you can flip through the pages to re-read a section in light of something new you just read. But most of my reasons for liking print books are really just nostalgia. In general, the Kindle is a nicer form factor - easier to hold in bed, with one hand, or to lay on the table next to my plate while I'm eating.

But Harper Lee doesn't particularly like the idea of ebooks. In a letter to Oprah's magazine she wrote (among other things):

can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up -- some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a masterpiece, so I won't complain too much about an old woman's eccentricities. But the magic of a book is in the content, not the medium. When I read, I get so caught up in the story that I'm no longer consciously aware that I'm reading. The story is in my mind, not on the page or screen in front of me.

Anyway, if you haven't yet read To Kill a Mockingbird, you really must do so. It's one of the best stories I've read. And if you prefer to read on an eReader like the Kindle, it's easy enough to find on Google. I'd recommend searching for a .mobi or .epub version rather than a .pdf so that the text can be resized. (As of right now, this link works and doesn't do anything crazy like install a download manager.) But don't just outright steal it. If I didn't already have the paperback somewhere in the house, I don't think I'd have downloaded the bootleg copy. So see if you can find a legit copy somewhere so that you at least own the content.

*To be honest, I didn't just read To Kill a Mockingbird. I finished it a few months ago and wrote this entry back then, but somehow forgot about it and left it languishing in my drafts folder for a little while. Oh well, it's not like this is breaking news. Better late than never, I guess.

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